Happy (belated) New Year and welcome to your first update of 2022 from the team here at Danbro Financial Planning. As we embark on a new year and fresh challenges, we wanted to bring you up-to-speed on what’s making the news in investments, interest rates, inflation, and mortgages! As always though, we’ll begin the newsletter with a quick message from our director, Liam Winstanley. Enjoy.
A message from our Director…
A big Happy New Year to you all from myself, Sharon & Joanna. We hope it’s a great year ahead for you all!
I’m going to get a bit personal this month if that’s okay? I kicked off the year in self-isolation, having tested positive for Covid-19 on Boxing Day. I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t have any symptoms at all and none of my family members were infected either.
I have to admit, though, that when that second red line popped up on my lateral flow test, all kinds of thoughts went through my head. Largely along the lines of ‘what happens if…’
So, all of a sudden, I stopped and thought ‘are my affairs in order?’ And, I must be honest, the answer to the question was ‘sort of, but not quite.’
I have (unsurprisingly, given my profession) always made sure that my family would have enough income and capital from life insurance in the event of my premature demise, and that I have income protection to provide some regular income if I was incapacitated and unable to work due to accident or poor health for an extended period.
But the thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was my Will. It is a simple family Will. But, whilst it’s there, the truth is that it whilst my wife and son would inherit my assets, it would not be in a format offering the right legal protections or tax efficiencies to either of them.
So, my number one financial priority right now is to ‘get my ducks in a row’ and make sure that my Will is not just any old Will, but one that really does what we need it to.
The moral of the story is that it always pays to review your financial arrangements periodically!
In the news this month…
We’ll kick off the first news roundup of this year with the news that UK interest rates could reach 1% as early as this summer. With the Bank of England (BoE) set to increase interest rates once again this month (the first ‘back-to-back’ increase in 18 years), economists are readying themselves for a surge in global interest rates.
The BoE put rates up to 0.25% (up from the record low of 0.1%) at the end of 2021, and it’s widely anticipated that it will double to 0.5% in early February. According to the Evening Standard, ‘the Bank hopes that these gradual increases will give businesses and households time to plan’ before we ‘move back to something approaching normal.’ Pre-pandemic, the ‘normal’ rate they refer to tended to resemble something like 5%! Rates were slashed to record lows in response to the pandemic, to allow businesses and households to keep their heads above water and borrow money at extremely cheap rates.
Staying on the theme of ‘interest’, and specifically, the interest payments on government borrowing, which was revealed to have reached record highs in December 2021 amidst surging inflation and soaring energy and food prices.
The interest on government debt reached £8.1 billion at the end of last year. Staggeringly, that’s more than three times higher than it was just 12 months earlier. However, more positively, December’s official borrowing numbers came out at a ‘lower-than-forecast £16.8bn’. That’s down by more than £7.5bn on the figures from December 2020. Read more, here.
Inflation is affecting all facets of society - both here in the UK and around the world. A recent report from Bloomberg in the US - using analysis from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change - estimates that ‘British workers will need pay rises of 8% on average this year to offset the living standards squeeze.’ And, owing to inflation, tax and NI increases, and higher energy bills, the TBI says that the poorest 20% of workers will, in fact, need double-digit wage increases to compensate for the hits on their incomes.
We’ll finish this month’s news round up on a more positive, if not wholly unsurprising, note with the recent figures from the UK’s biotech sector, which last year experienced its highest ever levels of investment. A whopping £4.5bn was raised through public and private financing by biotech and life science companies. That’s up 60% on the previous year thanks, in no small part, to the hugely successful production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Click here to find out more.
This month’s featured article…
As we’ve reported in previous updates, soaring house prices, record low-interest rates, and rising inflation have led to the launch of several loan options which are well above traditional levels. In some cases, this is as much as six or seven times the borrower’s annual salary. It’s not really surprising, given that the average price of a home in the UK is now over 8.5 times higher than earnings!
So, this month’s featured article - from the Guardian - considers whether 2022 could be remembered (in selective circles, at least) as the year of the ‘supersized mortgage’. It looks at the current landscape and what’s on offer, as well as the maths behind these mega mortgages.
The Guardian: ‘Supersize mortgages: What are the dangers?’
On a lighter note…
With the financial fallout from the pandemic still being felt around the globe, the stock market has been somewhat volatile over the last couple of years. So, to round off this month’s issue, we wanted to take a look back at 2021. More specifically, the year’s key investment trends with this helpful summary from Yahoo Finance. Enjoy.
Yahoo! Finance: ’Three key investing trends of 2021 ’
Your capital is at risk. The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.
The content of this newsletter is for your general information purposes only and does not constitute advice. It is not an offer to purchase or sell any particular asset and it does not contain all of the information which an investor may require in order to make an investment decision. Please obtain professional advice before entering into any new arrangement. Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of any articles.
Sam Wright is Danbro’s Marketing Manager. He produces regular content and feature articles on our digital and non-digital channels – and social platforms – for the Danbro Group and its subsidiaries, as well as having responsibility for the Company’s internal and external communications.
His background is in Journalism and Creative Writing, having previously contributed to publications such as The Daily Post, The Lancashire Evening Post, and The Blackpool Gazette.
He is a keen swimmer and avid Manchester United fan (but don’t hold that against him), and he lives in Lancashire with his wife, Sarah.